25 Vials of E. Coli Found in Arkansas Apartment

The media and the government are being coy about this but it looks like it’s terrorism related. From MSNBC:

A maintenance man cleaning out a newly vacant apartment in Jonesboro, Arkansas found 25 vials of E. coli bacteria in the refrigerator, according to reports.

The vials marked “E. coli” were in a foam box in the fridge at a Willow Creek Apartments unit, The Associated Press reported. After the facilities manager alerted authorities, an Arkansas National Guard hazardous material crew removed the bacteria.

The bacteria were determined to be medical grade, Fire Battalion Chief Marty Hamrick told the Jonesboro Sun.

While E. coli can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections and pneumonia, officials determined there was not enough of a safety danger to evacuate the apartment complex, the AP reported.

The FBI is reportedly getting involved. KAIT8 spoke with a Arkansas State University assistant professor named Bill Payne who talked about the legitimate research uses for E. Coli which include testing antibiotics and using modified versions to clean heavy metals from contaminated water sources. However all these things need to be in controlled environments:

However, Payne said, there are few uses for the bacterium outside of a controlled environment.

“For a private citizen to have it, I can’t think of any reason why he would have it, and why you would keep it in the refrigerator is even more baffling because you just don’t keep bacteria in your refrigerator with your food. It’s a good way of getting your food contaminated.”


“A private citizen would find it very difficult to get that, and that’s mainly because of the problem that we have now with security bioterrorism agents.”

Funny he should mention that because these E. Coli farmers were not citizens:

A tenant recently moved out and apparently left the vials in the fridge.  Dunn said from what they understand the people that lived in the apartment were from outside the United States.

The authorities are floating some story about the E.Coli being used to treat heavy metal poisoning in the body. In an apartment. By people from outside the United States who they won’t identify. Sounds reasonable.

Don’t drink the water in Arkansas.